Landlocked Malawi is among the world’s least developed countries. It was ranked 170 out of 188 countries on the 2017 Human Development Index.
Malawi’s economy is predominately agricultural, with approximately 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for about one-third of GDP and 80% of export revenues. However, agricultural land is under significant pressure from rapid population growth and food supply is precarious.
The country is also prone to natural disasters (specifically flooding and extended dry spells) with the frequency of these events increasing in recent years as a result of climate change.
GOAL began operating in Malawi in 2002 in Nsanje district and has since expanded its geographic focus, with current operations encompassing five districts (Nsanje, Chikwawa, Balaka, Mangochi and Machinga) in the Southern Region.
From an initial focus on humanitarian assistance, GOAL’s programming in Malawi also expanded to include a wider range of long-term development programming. By 2016, for example, in addition to its emergency response initiatives, GOAL’s programming portfolio in Malawi included interventions focused on improving water and sanitation, promoting community health and nutrition, encouraging climate change adaptation and climate smart agriculture, promoting alternative livelihoods, and strengthening disaster risk reduction.
Resilience is also a major focus of GOAL’s work in Malawi
Currently, GOAL’s overarching programmatic focus in Malawi is on promoting resilient health and economic and food security.
In an effort to help communities break the cycle of humanitarian assistance in the longer-term, cash handouts are accompanied by a range of broader resilience building efforts that include nutrition promotion, training on climate-smart agriculture techniques, and strengthening of village savings and loans mechanisms.
In the nutrition sector, the Malawi team promotes GOAL’s global Nutrition Impact Positive Practices (NIPP) approach. NIPP circles target women and children who are found to be suffering from or at risk of moderate acute malnutrition.
In the WASH sector, GOAL promotes positive sanitation and hygiene practices using the community led total sanitation (CLTS) model.
Through the PaMawa project, GOAL is currently working with 300 youth groups across the three districts of Balaka, Mangochi and Machinga to stimulate understanding of the linkages between climate change adaptation and family planning. Amongst other things, PaMawa is developing and disseminating integrated messages that makes this connection clear, whilst promoting the uptake of positive climate change adaptation and sexual and reproductive health behaviours and promoting access to integrated services.